Friday, 18 February 2011 00:00
During a press conference on Feb. 7, Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) was joined by her legislative colleagues to demand that County Executive Mangano stop what they called his taxpayer-dollar wasting lawsuit against the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, NIFA. Mangano’s lawsuit challenges NIFA’s right to implement a financial control period over the County’s finances.
Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) said, “I am troubled by the County Executive’s decision to sue NIFA. It will be costly, lengthy and just embroil us in litigation for the foreseeable future.Although no one wanted NIFA to take control, we must use this as an opportunity to work together and put the County’s finances back on track. This is the time to build bridges, not burn them.”
Deputy Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) added, “The experts in the financial market determined that Mangano’s lawsuit is an action that will worsen the County’s financial status. The entire Wall Street community is watching our county carefully. Prolonged litigation, which I believe will be unsuccessful, can only drive confidence in Nassau County to a new low.”
On Jan. 26, NIFA voted unanimously to implement a control period after their accountants analyzed the Mangano budget and his reply to NIFA’s request for additional financial data. NIFA determined Mangano’s 2011 budget had a deficit of more than one percent which, by State law, automatically triggered the control period.
“Our county is in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis. I again urge the Mangano administration to work with, not against, NIFA and save our residents from a financial tsunami that will have devastating consequences on our taxpayers. The Mangano-Schmitt lawsuit is a waste of time and precious tax dollars. Mr. Mangano must cease this destructive litigation immediately,” said Minority Leader Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove).
NIFA, created through state authorization in 2000 as a state oversight agency, has the right to impose a control period should the budget have or be about to have a deficit of one percent. NIFA accountants determined that the looming deficit of $176 million is closer to 7 percent.
Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said, “Constructive cooperation” is the key to success all the way around and the only thing which will benefit the residents of this County now and in the future. It is not necessary, nor prudent, to impugn the integrity of unpaid professional accountants and auditors on the NIFA Board who, by the NIFA statute, morph into a control board if we have an unbalanced budget by 1 percent or more.”
In a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of respondents urged the county executive to work with NIFA, according the Minority legislators.
Leading Long Island economic advisor Dr. Martin Cantor, CPA commented, “Nassau County is facing a fiscal abyss. Litigation challenging NIFA’s authority is ill-advised and counter-productive not only because of the unnecessary legal fees; it will further jeopardize the county’s standing on Wall Street. This would adversely impact the county’s credit worthiness and increases the costs of any short-term borrowing required by the county. A county-led lawsuit against NIFA can only add to the problems of an embattled county.”
The fact that Mangano is using Rivkin Radler, his former law firm, to sue NIFA is particularly troubling to the Democratic Caucus. Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) said, “Once again, the administration and the rubber stamp Republican majority are wasting taxpayer money on Mr. Mangano’s politically connected former law firm to sue the state, which will be defended at further cost to the taxpayers. Let’s just work together and fix the budget mess instead of making it worse.”